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Brits, Germans, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italians ALL to probe Google

Six nations pull out microscopes, eye ad giant's ass

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Google faces possible legal action from six different data protection regulators in Europe - including the British Information Commissioner - after the advertising giant failed to comply with an order to make changes to its privacy policy.

France's Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), which was tasked by Brussels' Article 29 Working Party with investigating Google's controversial privacy policy changes in March 2012, said today that the company had not implemented any "significant compliance measures."

The UK's ICO, meanwhile, confirmed to The Register this morning that it had launched a fresh probe into Google.

This time the UK watchdog is mulling whether the company's decision to revise its privacy policy last year by consolidating 70 different policies into one terms-of-service document has violated UK data protection law. It told us:

The action follows an initial investigation by the French data protection authority CNIL, on behalf of the Article 29 group of which the ICO is a member.

Several data protection authorities across Europe are now considering whether the policy is compliant with their own national legislation. As this is an ongoing investigation it would not be appropriate to comment further.

France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain are the five other EU countries whose data watchdogs are now investigating Google. Officials from the six nations involved in the action met with representatives from the world's largest ad broker on 19 March, CNIL said.

"Following this meeting, no change has been seen," the regulator's reps added. The statement continued:

The article 29 working party’s analysis is finalised. It is now up to each national data protection authority to carry out further investigations according to the provisions of its national law transposing European legislation.

Consequently, all the authorities composing the taskforce have launched actions on 2 April 2013 on the basis of the provisions laid down in their respective national legislation (investigations, inspections, etc.)

In particular, the CNIL notified Google of the initiation of an inspection procedure and that it had set up an international administrative cooperation procedure with its counterparts in the taskforce.

Just days before Google debuted its new terms of service in March last year, the article 29 working group - which is vice-chaired by Blighty's Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham - warned Google that its new policy did not meet the requirements of the European Directive on Data Protection.

Google, however, went ahead and revised its policy on 1 March 2012. The ads colossus had not got back to El Reg with any comment at time of writing. ®

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